Writings from Truckin'


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Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Matching socks and tennis shoes

So on Saturday I'm at the premier of a new play called Questa that stars Wendie Malick, who I was a fan of on "Dream On" and "Just Shoot Me." Her being in the show wasn't the draw; it being a new play was (and it turned out to be a not-very-good-overly-melodramatic-desperately-in-need-of-an-editor play).

Earlier that day I'd met a friend for lunch at ArcLight, a swanky Los Angeles mega movie theater where celebs hang out because they're the only ones who can afford the $14 ticket. Though if you sign up for their free membership, you get selected movies for a buck off.

We ate grilled chicken sandwiches (with bean sprouts, because it's LA) and fries in the cafe, then another friend joined and we saw Sin City in the Cineramadome, which for some reason I kept calling the Hippodrome. They had assigned seating, a guy came out to introduce the movie, and after the trailers the curtain closed only to open again before the feature presentation. I guess that's what you get for $14 per ticket.

I had stayed up all night playing poker at The Bicycle Casino (a very good 200NL 3/5 game on the TV table, which I liked except for the little cameras that viewed your hole cards), so I dozed throughout the movie and mixed dreams with scenes. This happened before with City of Lost Children and Memento, and to this day I swear certain things occurred that didn't. All I remember of the movie amounts to a few disjointed trailer moments (which I suspect composed the movie anyway), but I'll wait for the DVD to see it again. Love those Rodriguez commentaries.

Then tried getting to Pasadena to see a matinee of Doubt, but the 40 minutes that I had to get there found me still in 110 traffic. Fortunately the theater let me change the ticket to their final performance Sunday night for $10 extra. Better than losing the entire cost. I was willing to eat the ticket of the other show I'd planned that evening (a new play called Shove), because I wouldn't get another chance to see it unless I make a NYC trip. It's almost a certainty that Doubt will win a Tony and I wanted to see it before it became impossible to see.

But back to Questa. It's at the Court Theatre, a nice hole-in-the-wall place off La Cienega (a few doors up from Late Night Catechism 2, which I'm making a mental note to see on my next trip), and I found parking a few blocks north near Santa Monica Blvd. You would think there'd be parking available, what with all the cars caught up in traffic jams.

Court is located within a rustic alleyway that leads to a small courtyard, fountain, and wooden benches. The theater was general seating where the program acted as your ticket, and it probably sat 99 and was Equity waivered. Just my kind of theater.

The credits listed David Milch (of "NYPD Blue" fame) as executive producer, a title I'm unfamiliar with in plays of this small scope, but I'm guessing he's putting up the money. This ain't Broadway, so it certainly won't be costing the $2.5 million that Democracy will lose by closing early this weekend, but I'm thinking Milch probably has screenplay rights locked up as well.

Heard in the audience that Malick is holding up production on a movie so she could do this play. That's always nice to hear. Gives theater more respect.

Interestingly, Questa has an entirely different cast on Sundays, complete with their own understudies. That can't have been an easy rehearsal for the director. I assume this is in preparation for possibly continuing the run after the main cast leaves.

Sat in the front row next to a well-dressed woman wearing a scarf. An attractive girl sat down next to her, and I had a fleeting thought that it was too bad I wasn't on the other side so I'd be sitting next to her.

They didn't seem to be related, just friends. The girl had a brown suede jacket, long brown hair, and was also wearing a scarf.

Besides being cute, she had a fun personality.

As she crossed her legs, she picked at her socks and mentioned how her brown shoes didn't match her black socks. She jokingly wondered if it would be distracting to the actors by being in the front row.

Me, I was one of the underdressed in the crowd and slowly slid my tennis-shoed feet under my chair and spread the program across my jeans.

The girl then said to the woman, "Let's sit over there," and they moved to the second row. As they sat down, the girl said to me, "No offense to you."

I lamented, "Oh no, now they'll see my tennis shoes," and she laughed.

During intermission, she came over to an older couple who took their places next to me. They looked up and said, "Oh hello, Danica."

And then it hit me: Winnie Cooper!

I watched every episode of "The Wonder Years" and savored the one with Kevin and Winnie's first kiss, along with Winnie's breakdown toward the end when she moved. Heartbreaking. Dan Lauria (who played Kevin's father) was in the play, so it all clicked together.

Here I was trying to hit on this girl, who probably thought I was talking to her because she was famous, that she moved seats to escape a possible stalker situation.

I really need to work on my social skills.